ACT Leadership round-up

There is much writing about the ACT?leadership?issue, both on blogs and in the MSM:

Thick skin Hide’s undoing by Tracy Watkins in the DomPost:

It had long been accepted that asking Epsom voters to hold their nose and tick Hide risked doing the National brand more damage than it promised to help ACT.

ACT’s woes are many and legion -?Hide’s refusal to see anything wrong with his law and order spokesman David Garrett stealing a dead baby’s identity; his total lack of remorse for charging the cost of overseas travel with his girlfriend (now wife) back to the taxpayer; the grandstanding during coalition negotiations, the various bungled attempts to bring the ACT leadership issue to a head, and the unpopular super-city legislation among them. If the party were a horse, they’d shoot it.

In fact, that was precisely the thinking among many on the Right for much of the year.

Brash’s move comes after months of rumours that a new Right-wing party might emerge from the ACT debacle.

…Brash is potentially one of the few who could rally a sizeable force behind him fairly rapidly and also attract the level of dosh that is needed to get a new party off the ground. The turning point in Dr Brash’s thinking appears to have been talk that the Government intends scrapping his cherished 2025 taskforce, whose ideas National ministers have collectively pooh-poohed.

But so long as a heart continued to beat within ACT, launching a new party was always a high-risk option. It would be battling against the famously stubborn and thick-skinned Hide, who would have the advantage of a platform in Parliament and a guaranteed seat around the table at the televised leaders’ debates. Better to take over ACT and reinvent it from the inside out.

Expect the rebranding exercise to involve more than a change at the top if Brash succeeds in his ambitious gambit – a name change is also likely, though for now that seems to be closely under wraps.

Sounds awfully like Tracy Watkins has some good inside oil there.

John Armstrong: Time for Hide to walk the plank:

The political graffiti are now writ large on the wall for Rodney Hide’s leadership of Act after the apparent Easter rising within the party. Hide has to go.

It is most unlikely that Don Brash would be making such a public pitch for his job as leader without some kind of guarantee from Hide’s opponents that they now have the numbers to dump the incumbent.

Even if he has no such guarantee – the putative putsch still seems to be at a preliminary and somewhat tentative stage – Brash is making an offer the rest of the five-strong Act caucus simply cannot refuse.

Easter is all about resurrection.

In Act’s (currently hopeless) case, Brash alone offers the possibility of recovery from its basement-level poll ratings.

As predicted by me last night, Derek Cheng is running the lines supplied by loyal lieutenant Brian Nicolle, that Don Brash is old and tired. The funny thing here is that the Hreald can spend $100,000 with high priced top end of town lawyers to overturn Mark Hotchin’s name suppression but it is clear they didn’t spend a cent asking Mai Chen for an opinion or even get Derek Cheng to read and understand ACT’s?constitution and rules which is conveniently online.

Lindsay Mitchell has put up an interesting post about the ageist lines being run from the bunker.

Seventy is not?“very old”. In fact, believing that says more about the outlook of the person who said it than the subject of the claim. The statement tends to fall into that collectivist-thinking basket of ideas I hate so much. It’s ageist. Some people in their seventies may be very old – near death’s door because of physical and mental ailments and deteriorating health. Others have good health, sound minds and decades of life experience under their belts. Above all they have a living memory of a New Zealand when values were different. Some better, some worse. But some worth reviving as?universal. Like possesion of a work ethic.

And here’s another thing. The population is ageing. For those who don’t properly comprehend that term – possibly the owner of the ageist attitude – the proportion of people over 65 is growing in relation to those under. And they all have a vote. And life expectancy is growing. So a growing percentage of voters are less likely to judge a politician on their age – at least, having too much of it.

She also makes the very obvious point about Don Brash’s appeal to ACT supporters.

Brash has been upfront about what he wants. There is only room for one party that wants less government involvement in the economy so he has to try and use the ACT vehicle first. Anyone that has been around ACT for any length of time knows the high regard supporters hold him in. So if he just went ahead and formed his own party he will decimate ACT’s vote anyway. In that context his strategy is fair to current ACT players.

The point remains too that those supporters of ACT that left for National when Don Brash was in charge never returned once he was gone. They stayed with National and John Key and shunned the Rodney Hide led ACT party.

Don Brash may be seventy but right now he would still get back into parliament with some ACT MPs ?where as Rodney Hide would be 55 and unemployed and so would his party and all their MPs.